Online Programs for Minors in 2020

All in-person programs and events for minors at MIT have been cancelled through Fall 2020 due to the risks of COVID-19. 

Guidance updated 10/19/20

Registration

Other than student organizations approved by SOLE, all programs and activities should be registered on the Protection of Minors website at least 30 days before they plan to begin.  Student organizations should follow SOLE registration procedures.

Background Checks

MIT faculty, staff, and students who run an online program for minors must successfully complete a criminal background check.  Those completing background checks will need access to a printer, internet connection, and a way to return documents electronically (by scanning or sending a photo of a signed form).  Please contact Andrea Finnin, Security Specialist, (andreaf@mit.edu) to begin the process or ask questions.

Setting up an Online Program

Online programs for minors should utilize MIT-approved software, such as Zoom, WebEx or Teams, for audio/video communication, and Slack or Piazza for collaboration. 

For ASA programs hosting minors, please check with SOLE prior to the use of any other software, solution or platform. For all other student-run programs seeking to use software or other social engagement platforms to host minors, please contact minors@mit.edu for further guidance.  DLCs that plan to host minors virtually should check with their IS&T designated representative for guidance regarding the pros and cons of the proposed platform.

The following factors should be considered when determining the suitability of a software/platform that has not already been approved by MIT to host minors:

  • Security features – Can access be restricted by password? Invitation only? Participation requires authentication process? Recording controlled by program leader only.
  • Privacy- What are the terms of use? What information can be collected by software licensor? What is the software licensor’s privacy policy? Where is data stored, and is attendee information sold to third parties?
  • Moderator Controls – What are they? Do they include the ability to mute/unmute participants? Prevent or enable participants from engaging in private chats and/or screen sharing using the platform? Is there an ability to log conversations?

IS&T has created resource pages for Zoom and Webex, including troubleshooting and FAQs.  Zoom has also created some guidance for the K-12 environment. In addition, the following general guidelines should be followed while using a collaboration platform or learning resource:

  • Program administrators (MIT faculty, staff, or students) must use their MIT credentials at all times.
  • Program administrators should have the ability to set up private servers/rooms/spaces for program participants.
  • The private server/room/space should be accessible through a verified MIT email account. Only program participants and facilitators should have access to the server/room/space.
  • At least one DLC administrator should have access to the private server/room/space (outside of program participants and facilitators).
  • Private messaging options should be turned off on participant accounts.
  • Parents/guardians of minors should be able to see content and interactions.
  • Train multiple program administrators to be prepared to close the session in the event of inappropriate participant or mentor behavior or Zoom-bombing. Limit access to participation by password, invitation and/or authentication, and have policies in place to discourage sharing such information.
  • Provide guidance prior to the inception of any program of expectations of all program staff and each participant, to include conduct and keeping access information confidential (i.e., MIT program staff, parents, and participants only)

Other Resources for Setting Up Online Programs:

Safe Contact and Privacy Rules

The following safety rules apply to online programs for minors:

  • Avoid one-to-one virtual contact with a minor. 
  • MIT recommends that at least two adults are online during live programs.
  • No private direct messaging, texting, chatting, or personal emails between a minor and a program supervisor/online teacher is permissible.  Group messages and posts are acceptable and must be viewable by all participants.
  • Minors may not engage in activities involving hazardous materials (chemical, biological, radiation) at home during an online program.  For questions about whether a proposed activity can be done safely, including whether mechanical tools or appliances can be used, please contact environment@mit.edu.
  • Parents/guardians must be provided with access information to all virtual meetings and programs.
  • Review the DOs and DON’Ts of Working with Minors for reminders on behavioral expectations.

Recording of Online Sessions

Recording online sessions with minors is strongly discouraged, unless it is being done for future training purposes.  In such cases, program administrators must contact minors@mit.edu to obtain a consent and recording release form, which must be signed by a parent/guardian of each participating minor.  Any recordings must be saved to the cloud and not to any personal computer or device.

Parental Consent Form

Parents/guardians of participating minors must complete the Parental Consent Form and submit it to the program administrator.

The List of Medical Conditions & Medications, Health Insurance Information, and Liability Waiver are not required for Fall 2020 programs.

Reporting Concerns

The procedures for Reporting Abuse and Neglect remain the same for online programs.  If anyone has other concerns about online programs for minors, you may send an email to minors@mit.edu.  Anonymous concerns may be submitted through MIT’s reporting hotline.

Disability Accommodations

Participants who need to request disability accommodations should contact their program administrator.